A heavy film of drywall dust permeated every inch of our house. You could write love letters on the wood furniture. The pots and pans inhabited the family room and the contents of the pantry were scattered between the dining room and our office. The coffeemaker was strategically placed in the master bedroom. In order to face the mess each morning, I would brew myself the strongest cup of Starbucks coffee.
Basically, the kitchen was rendered unworkable. Even today, when I think of the mess, I instinctively grit my teeth and break out in a cold sweat.
My husband, Steve, is inspired by HGTV. It seems to nurture the fertile ground of his inner creative contractor. He is fascinated by renovation projects. His uncanny ability to see beyond walls is impressive. Me, not so much.
Steve wanted to take down a wall and the back stairs leading to our kitchen. In his most persuasive voice He said, “ It will open up the kitchen to the family room, giving the area a more spacious feel.”
Emphatically, I said, “NO! “
Change and chaos completely unnerves me. Frankly, I liked my kitchen and I was strangely attached to my back stairs. My son, Adam, refers to them as, “the stairs of his childhood.” I know what he means. I watched the people I love go up and down those stairs for 17 years.
We rarely used the front stairs.
In the end, I trusted my husband’s creative abilities and caved in to his effective negotiating skills. The combination was lethal; not to mention that my husband negotiates for a living, so, I relented. Sigh…
We allowed a contractor to perform heart surgery on our kitchen. Our little nine day project took eight weeks to complete. But in the end, it was worth the mess.
The more I reflect on this messy renovation, I realize God was teaching me a spiritual principle. Sometimes He has to do heart surgery on us in order to take down the long standing self-erected walls of protection, fear, worry, and doubt. These walls are our human responses to heartbreaking circumstances that deeply wound us. They complicate our lives shrinking our ability to fully experience life, relationships, and most importantly God’s comforting presence.
Friends, a heart renovation can be just as messy as a house renovation.
This divine undertaking can be excruciatingly painful leaving a heavy residue of raw emotions, a heart needing serious bandaging, TLC, and time to heal. God’s intentions are always for our good. He will never mishandle our hearts. Instead, He will bring peace and order from the emotional shambles. Surrendering will be worth the life giving results.
It is God’s continual desire to keep us free from heart walls, so we can fully live with an emotionally wide open, healthy heart that has the capacity to grow and receive.
The words of the psalmist King David so eloquently sum it up, “He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19).
Word of the Day:
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)
Prayer: Father God, keep us free from the self-erected walls that keep us from experiencing a greater measure of You and the life You have for us. Help us to trust and surrender to You, even if the process seems messy and painful. Amen.
Author: Maryanne Abbate